Suspect in UMass armed assault released on bail

By Patricia Leboeuf

(Courtesy of Dave Roback/MassLive)
(Courtesy of Dave Roback/MassLive)

BELCHTEROWN — William McKeown was released immediately on bail Wednesday morning at Eastern Hampshire District Court, two days after pleading not guilty in connection with an alleged armed assault last Thursday at the University of Massachusetts.

McKeown, 19, posted $7,500 cash bond. He was arraigned on charges of armed robbery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and assault and battery in court Monday.

The criminal complaint filed with Eastern Hampshire District Court on Feb. 19 states that McKeown, armed with a handgun, assaulted and beat the victim in the case and robbed him of $120 in cash in Pierpont Hall.

First Assistant District Attorney Steven Gagne filed a motion to amend the criminal complaint after it was learned that McKeown possessed a BB gun instead of a handgun during the incident. The charges will remain the same.

The court accepted a motion filed by the Commonwealth today to strike the term “handgun” from counts one and two of the criminal complaint against McKeown and add “BB gun” in its place.

McKeown turned himself in to police custody on Friday, Feb. 19 following an arrest warrant issued  by the University of Massachusetts Police Department.

According to the initial criminal complaint, filed by UMPD detective Kevin Shaw, a witness told Shaw that McKeown and his accomplice were bringing marijuana to sell to the victim. The witness let the two into the building, Shaw wrote.

According to UMass spokesperson, the University is reviewing the actions of both the witness that let the two assailants into Pierpont Hall, as well as the victim, in accordance to the University’s Code of Conduct. Under a Code of Conduct review, the Dean of Students Office reserves the right to impose interim sanctions against a student.

Blaguszewski said he could not comment on individual cases.

According to bail condition documents filed with the court, McKeown will be subject to GPS monitoring and on house arrest under conditions of bail agreed to by his attorney and Gagne. Under his bail conditions, he also was ordered to have no contact with the victim, witness and codefendant in the case, and abstain from any alcohol and non-prescription drugs with random testing to ensure compliance. He must also surrender passport information.

His pretrial conference is set for April 11. McKeown is not a UMass student.

Patricia LeBoeuf can be reached at [email protected] or followed on Twitter @leboeuf_trisha.